A Brief History of Rabbit

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  1. It's 2013, and a company named "Rabbit" has taken the world - well, the internet, at least - by storm, promising to innovate upon the classic, well-worn concept of a video chat. It was like promising to reinvent the wheel, and as far as the Mac-only closed beta went, it was about as successful.
  2. The interface, in my personal opinion, was clunky and strange. Multiple conversation threads in a single room quickly became overwhelming - visually, it was as appealing as the other options of its time, like Skype or Microsoft Teams. But what it truly offered was something beyond just video chatting. The beta was short-lived, but the Rabbit team had all the ammunition they needed to create something spectacular.
  3. Just six months later, the much sleeker, more modern web app that everyone instantly grew to love launched. What an amazing concept - to not only watch anything, but /do/ anything you could do in a traditional web browser, all in the company of your friends. It was thrilling - exciting. As a beta tester for the OS X App, I was thrilled to be invited once again to beta test the mobile version, which launched with equal acclaim.
  4. Every single night became Rabbit night. I would flag down a number of my friends, settle in for the evening, and watch movies, TV shows, anything the heart desired. At the end of the night, my feedback would go to the devs, presumably to be whisked away to some magical bug fix factory. It was a staple of my daily routine. Letting it go amiss felt wrong, especially after doing it for half a decade.
  5. But quickly, things started unraveling. The company switched CEOs - multiple times. Monetizing the platform became a confusing problem. The site's design took a nasty turn for the worse - confusing, unintuitive, deliberately hostile in some aspects. Complaints from users weren't the only ones being ignored - it was as if the dev team had gone radio silent, ignoring any and all feedback from its testers, even direct lines of contact. At first, things seemed to be hanging in a tentative balance.
  6. Then, with seemingly no warning, it's as if the veil was lifted. The plug was pulled - after six years of unfulfilled promises, shareholders got sick of waiting and pulled out. In an instant, Rabbit's last bastion had disappeared, and the skeleton fell apart only for the bones to be picked up by a younger, fresher, wider-eyed company named Kast.
  7. Amazingly, for its entire lifespan, Rabbit had a complete monopoly on its market. Not one alternative was, or has since been launched to the public. Movie nights with friends stagnated abruptly - relationships dwindled. My Rabbit T-shirt, lovingly sent to me by the dev team, collects dust in my closet. As pedestrian as it sounds, it was something magical to simply sit down and watch a movie with your friends, as if you were sitting next to each other with a laptop awkwardly propped between you. I would gladly give anything to experience that again - even write a VICE-length article at midnight.

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